Following publication of the Department for Transport’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS), Embassy Chair, Mark Treasure, says:
“The headline figure in CWIS is 'over £1 billion of Government funding available to local bodies that may be invested in cycling and walking over the next five years.' While this does sound impressive, it is only £200m per year, dwarfed by the £6bn cost allocated by the Department for Transport to one single road scheme announced earlier this month, and by the £7.4bn annual cost of physical inactivity.
“The Department is clearly capable of making serious investment in transport, but this Walking and Cycling Strategy does not provide it. It talks of the enormous benefits accruing from much higher levels of walking and cycling - greatly reduced congestion, improved public health, thriving high streets, accessibility for those with disabilities and mobility problems, and what all this means in economic terms. But those benefits simply won’t be realised without investment commitment, approaching 10% of the overall transport budget to be invested in walking and cycling. CWIS comes nowhere near that figure - only £0.2bn per year, just 1.3% of the DfT’s annual expenditure of around £15bn.
“The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs), aimed at enabling local authorities to develop network plans, are encouraging. However these are not mandatory, and even for interested and willing local authorities the lack of clear, high-quality design guidance at a national level remains a major concern. A ‘refresh’ of LTN 2/08 ‘Cycle Infrastructure Design’ is hinted at in CWIS - this a matter of urgency, and any new guidance has to be of an equivalent standard to continental best practice. We have a historical record of very low quality cycling infrastructure built across Britain over the last decades. We don’t need to keep repeating the same mistakes.
“The Department for Transport should be taking the lead and ensuring that high-quality design for walking and cycling is embedded into the way we build and improve our roads and streets. As we now move into the elections of May and June, it is vital that politicians from all parties and levels of government take the opportunity to push our Department for Transport and other local bodies to deliver.”